If Missiles Are Headed to Guam, Here Is What Could Stop Them

Gladys Abbott
August 12, 2017

North Korea on Thursday defiantly rejected President Donald Trump's "fire and fury" warning, unveiling a detailed plan to launch a salvo of missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

But Mount said Pyongyang's threats to launch multiple missiles at Guam could be a deliberate action to call the United States' bluff on missile defense.

Moon met with his new military chiefs at Cheong Wa Dae and said the task facing South Korea is to "acquire the military capability to respond to North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations".

Meanwhile, Japan says it could shoot down missiles for its USA ally if North Korea fires them at Guam.

"I will do my best to secure our people's lives and property", Abe said without elaboration.

Guam, a tropical island more than 3,000 km (2,000 miles) to the southeast of North Korea, is home to about 163,000 people and a U.S. Navy installation that includes a submarine squadron, a Coast Guard group and an air base. Guam's governor urged island residents to remain calm, underscoring that the island's threat level has not changed. The North said the plan, which involves the missiles hitting waters 19 to 25 miles (30 to 40 kilometers) from the island, could be sent to leader Kim Jong Un for approval within a week or so.

However, it added: "If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so".

Cha Do-hyogn, a researcher at the Asian Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul said even if Pyongyang's nuclear missile does not strike the US territory of Guam, Washington would not accept such an act of provocation because it would be considered a grave threat to its national security.

In August previous year, the North's Foreign Ministry warned that all US military bases in the Pacific including Guam would "face ruin in the face of all-out and substantial attack" by the North's military. "I would expect the markets to react again pretty negatively to any more tough talk from either side, but for now, everybody seems to have settled down, and we'll see what happens".

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The U.S. military has said it plans to increase its presence on Guam and will move thousands of U.S. Marines now stationed in Japan to the island between 2024 and 2028.

But Mayor Paul McDonald of Agana Heights, Guam, tells NPR that the threat from North Korea - and the fact that Trump is "fighting back with words" - is being taken very seriously by residents.

"Well, I think as far as reassurance they probably feel as reassured as they can feel".

North Korea's Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) on Wednesday repeated threats that the DPRK military was in the final stages of developing a plan to strike the island of Guam. "The intention is to deter and contain North Korea".

"What has changed this time is that the scary threats and war of words between the United States and North Korea have intensified to the point that markets can't ignore it", said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital in Sydney, as quoted by Reuters.

Here's a closer look at Guam and its role in the US and North Korea's ongoing war of words.

The newspaper said United States intelligence officials have assessed that a decade after North Korea's first nuclear test explosion, Pyongyang has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, including by intercontinental missiles - the type capable of reaching the continental US.

"Now is time to start reviewing nuclear armament", the Korea Herald said in an editorial. But residents are increasingly anxious over Washington's escalating war of words with North Korea.

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